There’s just something about a good, steel hardtail that never goes out of style. British framebuilders Genesis seem to get that. Their latest offering is the Latitude 853. It is comprised of, you guessed it, Reynolds 853 steel. But Genesis isn’t using the same old 853 tubing, this stuff is the new DZB (Dual Zone Butting) triple butted tubing. The top and down tubes have additional wall thickness near the headtube for increased strength. Thinner walls are used in other parts of the tube-set to keep the overall weight down. Reynolds 631 is used in the seat-tube and headtube, keeping the strength high in the areas where it is needed most. Think you’re going to swap all the parts over from your 1998 steel hardtail. Think again. The Latitude 853 is built around the new 44 mm headset standard to accept tapered forks. Genesis claims the frame will handle 100-140 mm forks. Back in the, as they say, day, we would have called something like that a “free-ride” hardtail. The bike is definitely front-heavy as far as strength goes. The larger 631 headtube, combined with a wider-horizontally top tube, provides a stiff steering platform, but the rear end is alleged to retain that cushy steel feel.
Genesis calls this bike “future proof,” and one one way they have “future-proofed” the bike, aside from the 44 mm headtube, is by making it compatible with 2 X 10 cranksets (but what will happen when 1 X 20 comes out?) by using asymmetrical chainstays. The stays are heat-treated Cr-Mo for added strength.
The Latitude is ED coated internally to prevent rust and it has a replaceable derailleur hanger. (Your ’98 steel hardtail probably didn’t have the latter.) The 2011 Latitude has a slightly different geometry from the ’10 version: the headtube is .5° slacker and the front-center is .5″ longer, which makes the bike handle better with a 120 mm fork.
For another view, specs, and geometry, click more…
Asymmetric chainstay plate for 2×10 chainsets
XX44 headtube in Reynolds 631
Tapered and flattened top tube is stiffness-optimised
Reynolds 853 DZB top and down tube for fatigue resistance without gussets
Replaceable gear hanger inserts
27.2mm seatpost / 29.8mm clamp
Visit the Genesis website for more info.